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US, Iraqi Forces Still Target Sunnis: AMS

Samir Haddad, IOL Correspondent

BAGHDAD, November24 , 2005 (IslamOnline.net) ľ Residents of Haditha, western Iraq, are being massacred by the Iraqi national forces and US occupation troops, according to the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), Iraqi's highest Sunni authority.

"US troops and Iraqi national guards are stationed at roofs and gardens of the city's houses and are shooting anyone who dares get out," Sheikh Abdul Salam Al-Qubaissi, AMS PR official, told a press conference Wednesday, November23 .

Qubaissi cited a call from an Iraqi woman who cried out for help from the ongoing crackdowns in the city.

"The woman said she is unable to leave home to bring food for her young kids lest being shot by the troops," he said.

The woman further detailed what she described as a "massacre" perpetrated by the Iraqi forces against four Iraqi families in the city.

"Some 24 people of the four Iraqi families were killed by the Iraqi forces, which also opened fire at members of another Iraqi family in the city," the woman said on the recorded conversation, parts of which were played at the press conference.

Residents tried to convince the Iraqi soldiers to end their crackdown operation in the city, the woman said.

"But the soldiers answered that they were under orders from the Iraqi defense minister."

Iraqi Sunni leaders have warned several times that continued military and police crackdowns were alienating their community in the run-up to December elections for a new parliament amid stark warnings from the UN on human rights violations.

Few days ago, more than 170 malnourished and beaten prisoners, many of them Sunni Arabs, were found locked in a bunker belonging to the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry.

Orders to Kill

Qubaissi further cited another "horrible massacre" committed by US troops in the city.

"US forces ordered a vehicle carrying 11 Iraqis to stop and ordered them out for claims of being 'terrorists'," he said, citing one of the survivors.

"The men denied the claims, but a US commander ordered gunning them down."

In May, Iraqi Sunni leaders demanded Interior Minister Bayan Baqer Solagh be sacked for the alleged involvement of his services in anti-Sunni killings.

A report by Human Rights Watch revealed that Iraqis were tortured and abused at the hands of the former US-picked interim government of Iyad Allawi.

It documented how unlawful arrest, long-term incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment of detainees - including children - by Iraqi authorities have become routine and commonplace in occupied Iraq.


The ongoing crackdowns in the city have badly aggravated the humanitarian situation in the city, IOL correspondent says.

He added that residents are unable to reach hospitals for medical assistance.

"Normal life also came to a halt as people are not able to leave their homes over attacks of US forces," the correspondent adds.

An Iraqi source in the city said US forces banned residents from moving with their cars.

"They also threatened to kill citizens if US forces came under attacks from the resistance groups," the source was quoted as saying by Al-Quds Press.

It added that US occupation forces also banned food and fuel into the city, the move which aggravated the already difficult humanitarian situation in the city.


Saleh Al-Mutlaq, leader of the Sunni umbrella body Iraqi National Dialogue Council, said that ongoing practices of the Iraqi government cast pall on efforts to achieve reconciliation in the war-torn country.

"The government proved failure in dealing with the Iraqi issues as they are nothing but mere killers," he said.

He urged the Iraqi government to take certain steps to prove willingness to help achieve reconciliation among the Iraqi sects.

"The government must release prisoners held in the Iraqi and US-run jails and halt its crackdown operations to prove intentions to implement decisions of the Cairo conference," he added.

Mutlaq also criticized the government's reluctance to engage in talks with the Iraqi resistance groups.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said, on the sidelines of the Iraqi National Accord Conference, that he was ready to receive members of resistance movements in his capacity as the "president of all Iraqis."

Unabated resistance attacks, which started after the US occupation in2003 , has left so far over2 , 100US servicemen killed, sending shockwaves across the United States.

Resistance factions have distanced themselves from militants who target mosques and innocent civilians.

:: Article nr. 18148 sent on 25-nov-2005 02:46 ECT


Link: www.islamonline.org/English/News/2005-11/24/article06.shtml

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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